28 March 2007

Tori White, Class of '10

Ed Ayers, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at U.Va., asked current students and alumni in an e-mail to submit their favorite places on the campus grounds. They printed responses on their website. One such response I reprint below (emphasis mine):

What I love about Grounds is the Romanesque architecture. It is very beautiful and very elegant. I believe it gives Grounds a bit of prestige that everyone loves.The white columns and brick buildings are great.I love Clark library because of the murals (despite the fact that many are naked) and the feel of the library.Brown and old dorms really carry over that U.Va. feel and romanesque look. Cocke Hall looks lovely after its renovations.I love old Cabell as well — it is just gorgeous ... Wilson could use a sprucing ... and New Cabell is way too hot.
Tori White (College ’10)
As the great Will Ferrill once asked, "Tori, are you English or retarded?" Where to begin? How about with the fact that the architecture on grounds is not Romanesque. I'm no architectualist, but even I know that U.Va.'s defining architectural style is Jeffersonian, or neo-classical, the defining feature (as Tori has at least come to realize) being red brick construction, white columns, and symmetry.

Romaneque, by contrast, features "A combination of masonry, arch and piers are the basis of the Romanesque style. The main concept for buildings was the addition of pure geometrical forms," according to the authority-on-all-things that is Wikipedia. Romaneque architecture was so named in the 18th century to refer to designs from a period spanning the 11th and 12th century in Europe. Here's a picture of a Romanesque building:

Here's a picture of the Rotunda:

Notice anything different about the two?

But, I must confess, this factual error isn't even what originally raised my ire. Tori professes to admire the murals in Clark Hall . . . except for the fact that they depict nudity. I really don't even know what to say about this. I was unable to find a picture of the offending murals, but I have to convey to you, they are beautiful. According to A&S magazine:

The murals, completed by artist Allyn Cox in 1934, chronicle the history of law. Two three-panel murals dominate the room. One shows Moses delivering the Ten Commandments; on the opposite wall Cox illustrated a scene first depicted on the shield of Achilles in Homer’s Iliad in which a group peacefully settles a dispute over a murder. Four smaller murals flank the larger pieces and echo their themes of Moral and Civil Law.
I mean, an exposed titty is one thing, but a titty in service of Justice? Why, that simply won't do. Becca, perhaps your sister could get Tori a job working for the Ashcroft legal group, since he famously covered up the giant naked statue of Justice during his tenure as Attorney General. The two obviously have a lot in common.

Or maybe she could just move to Riyadh, where she won't have to be exposed to such filth.

Tori White: tighten up!

An addendum & commendation to A&S Online - they printed Pepper's infinitely more nuanced response to the same question, which resulted in an early Tighten Up Report post. Kudos to them for airing a dissenting opinion. Very Tight, A&S.


Mollie said...

I'm really more shocked that A&S magazine decided to publish the comment, since it makes it appear as if there are members of the student body who haven't been properly schooled in the Cult of Jefferson. But she is young in the ways of the University... she'll learn. After she's seen her 423rd obscure Jefferson quote, she'll know the difference for sure.

Pepper said...

Well wrought, Mr. Jordan. An architecturalist you may claim not to be, but you are infinitely more qualified than Ms. White, who I may award a full scholarship to the Pepper Watkins Academy of Architectural Hard Knocks.